HomeNewsArticle Display

Teenage pilots get chance to soar with CAP

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- A regular high school student, but a pilot outside of the classroom walls: for Civil Air Patrol cadets, that's just another day.

CAP is an Air Force sponsored, all-volunteer organization organization with more 60,000 members, approximately 50 percent adults and 50 percent cadets between the ages of 12-21. The three main missions of the CAP program are emergency services, aerospace education, and the cadet program. The Cadet Program focuses on leadership using the US Air Force as its model and focuses on leadership and aerospace education.

Buckley's Mile High Cadet Squadron has 25 cadets and 19 senior leaders. The squadron meets every Tuesday night for formation and an educational class.

"The reason I joined is I want to be a pilot," said CAP Cadet 1st Lt. McKade Clark. "We actually get free flight lessons. We get to go up and take the controls and fly around for a little bit. I thought to myself, 'I get to fly planes. Are you kidding me?'"

The cadets in the program have big dreams, with many striving to enroll at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

"About 10 percent of the entrants at the Air Force Academy come from Civil Air Patrol ranks," said Maj. Sam C. Turner, Mile High CAP senior leader.

The program doesn't just bring enrichment to the cadet's lives, it's provides a safe place to grow and learn.

"We're a family," said Maj. Judy Huff, Mile High CAP squadron commander. I care about them. With the bullying and the pressure of school, I think we need a family element, and that's what we are."

Like any strong family, the senior leaders act as mentors, bringing valuable lessons to the table.

"My primary role is drug reduction," said CAP 2nd Lt. John E. Goodman, Mile High CAP 2nd Lt. "When I come in to teach my classes, I don't just come in and say, 'Don't smoke. Don't drink.' I try to leave in their minds some basic principles on how to live life."

The CAP program also gives teens opportunities they may not have be otherwise able to experience.

"They've gotten a chance to meet the dogs from security forces," Huff said. "We've had the burn trailer. We've had helicopter rides. I even brought in the (Special Weapons and Tactics) team once."

Clark's favorite memory was with the 460th Security Forces Squadron military working dogs.

"I even got to get in the training suit where the dogs chase after you!" Clark said.

The cadets also learn about unique subjects during the classes. The program's most recent class: how to survive on the moon.

While there are many remarkable opportunities, according to Turner, watching the cadets grow and develop is the most fulfilling part.

"Hearing from them later after they've come back from boot camp or hearing that they're going to the Academy, that's the best; knowing we've helped them in their endeavor." Turner said.

Aside from the many benefits of the cadet program, the senior leaders agree joining CAP was one of the best decisions, providing them a chance to give back and pass on their experience and knowledge of the military to the younger generation.

"When you're here, you're not just talking to a recruiter," Goodman said. "You're talking to a vast array of people that have been in the military. They'll help guide you into a career that's going be substantial and fulfilling."

Goodman has nothing but praise for CAP's unique and exciting program.

"Where else would I get a chance to be in an aircraft and working on a real mission?" Goodman said. "Civil Air Patrol is one of the Air Force's best-kept secrets."
USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.